Co-op strikes £100m Eastlands naming deal

Oak View Group, the developer of the planned 23,500-capacity arena in East Manchester, has agreed a 15-year sponsorship deal with Co-op for the naming rights to the venue, which will be known as Co-op Live. 

The deal, which is believed to be worth just shy of £100m, comes in the week the developer won planning approval for its £350m venue, which would be the second entertainment arena in Manchester alongside the AO Arena operated by ASM Global. 

Under the deal, the cooperative’s charitable arm, the Co-op Foundation, is to distribute around £1m each year to charities across the UK.

“Co-op Live will re-establish Manchester as one of the globe’s most important live music destinations, as well as delivering new events to the city, including awards shows, international sporting events and tournaments, family entertainment shows and emerging formats such as E-Sports,” OVG said in a statement. 

OVG’s chief executive Tim Leiweke added: “Our partnership goes way beyond a normal naming rights agreement. The shared values will help define the ethos of the venue.

“I’ve said from the beginning of the project that this arena will be of Manchester, for Manchester and by Manchester, and this partnership with one of the city’s most iconic brands is a critical part of that.”

Steve Murrells, group chief executive of Co-op, said that the deal aligns with Co-op’s goal “to serve the interests of its members and invest for the long term”. 

He added: “The entertainment arena brings to life the co-operative difference and our vision to co-operate for a fairer world, from its sustainable construction, support for communities, zero food waste and member only exclusive benefits.” 

The sponsorship follows a recent five-year naming deal struck between operator ASM Global and appliances retailer AO. 

OVG Eastlands Arena internal

OVG’s plans were unveiled in April

The Eastlands arena scheme was approved on Thursday despite objections from ASM Global, which claimed that there was no market for a second arena in Manchester, and that granting consent for OVG’s plans would pull footfall away from the city centre and negatively impact local businesses. 

However, these claims were refuted by both OVG and Manchester City Council. Bam Construction is due to start building the arena in November and OVG aims to stage its first events there in 2023. 

Jo Whitfield, chief executive of Co-op Food, said: “We are proud that one of the world’s greenest and most socially responsible live entertainment venues will carry our name. 

“The coronavirus pandemic is having a significant impact, and our multimillion pound investment is a signal of our intent for the future of the region, creating jobs and helping to bring some of the world’s best events to Manchester.”   



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